Black bride removed from resort brochure: they ‘marry differently’

2013-11-17 10:00

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A graphic designer has accused the ATKV (Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging) of racism over a wedding brochure for one of the language and culture body’s resorts near Sun City.

The designer, who does not wish to be named as she doesn’t want to create trouble for her former employers, spoke to City Press and also forwarded an email to back up her claims.

In it an ATKV staffer asks for the removal of a black bride from a wedding brochure designed for the Klein-Kariba holiday resort in the Waterberg that will “make your dream wedding a reality in our own stone chapel with a magical waterfall or forest wedding ceremony”.

In the email the staff member explains the reasons for wanting the black bride removed.

She says it’s because black couples “marry differently, want to party outside resort rules and at best come here to take photos at the dam”.

The staff member quoted in the resort manager’s email to the design company recommends that “if you must/want to use photos of colour, then rather a coloured couple”.

“I was really appalled by the comments. They’re racist,” said the designer. “It was client feedback. We had to change it. We replaced it with a white bridal image, but it’s outrageous. Just before that I had designed a poster for them that said inclusiveness was one of their ethics. They wanted people not to perceive them as racist but then they act like racists.”

“It’s not true. The little lady (dametjie) is not a racist and nor is ATKV. We are colourless,” said an executive director at ATKV, Schalk Cilliers, who was at pains to deny the designer’s allegations.

He told City Press it was about the market.

The email states that a black couple has not married at Klein-Kariba in seven years and that their “focus is not the black market”.

But, says Cilliers, the Klein-Kariba resort frequently attracts guests of all races to its conference facilities.

“At our resort in Natal we get a lot of Indian guests. In the Western Cape we have many coloured supporters. The truth is there is no real market for black weddings at our Klein-Kariba and Buffelspoort resorts. All she was saying is that the marketing material won’t work for the market there.”

There are in fact few black people outside of staff pictured on any of the ATKV’s resort websites (www.atkvresorts.co.za) though coloured people are prominent in the Western Cape resort and there are images of all races on all resorts’ conference facility pages.

The ATKV has in the past acknowledged that there are more non-white Afrikaans-speakers in South Africa than white.

“Look at our track record in the past 15 years. We are really reaching out to all races,” says Cilliers.

“We have been addressed twice by then president Mbeki and also by then president Mandela because we are a model for the preservation of language and culture.”

He added: “We are working with the department of tourism and with the hospitality industry to create social tourism. This targets people who haven’t had a chance to take holidays in the past. It turns out these are mainly black people. We have programmes where we are helping teach them how to take holidays.”

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